The Maurice O’Keeffe Festival

Cill Mhín Comhaltas Branch are proud hosts of the Maurice O’Keeffe Festival held annually in Kiskeam and Ballydesmond on Easter Weekend. Maurice, until his sad passing in 2017, was the the President of Cill Mhín Comhaltas Branch. With the musical energy of a man a quarter of his age, Maurice received many honours for his unselfish contribution to Irish Traditional Music in general, and Sliabh Luachra in particular. Since the festival’s inaugural year in 2002, it has gone from strength to strength.

Maurice O'Keeffe, with Branch Chairperson Timmy Collins, at his 95th Birthday Celebrations and Launch of Cill Mhín Comhaltas Branch.
Maurice O’Keeffe, with Branch Chairperson Timmy Collins, at his 95th Birthday Celebrations and Launch of Cill Mhín Comhaltas Branch.

Maurice was born the 5th child to Francis and Molly O’Keeffe on 5th September 1919. He still lives in the house he was born in, in Kiskeam Co. Cork – right in the heart of Sliabh Luachra. Maurice was for many years a fiddler of great repute and reknown – well known by both lovers of traditional music, and by the musicians themselves. Although he probably appeared on many a CD and TV show, he never went down the road of commercial recording himself. Instead, he opted to adopt the traditional stance of the masters of old – passing down his tunes to those who came by his house to play with him, or who accompanied him to the village for a session in one of the pubs there. He spent many an hour in his “studio” – his small kitchen. Here, he recorded cassette tapes on his domestic tape player. They were sent all over the world for no other reward than the joy of the music and the knowledge that he was passing it on to the generations who must carry it along.

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